A friend of mine, celebrity fitness trainer and entrepreneur Felicia Romero had an idea for 2016. Why not put together a series of events where successful business leaders speak to those on the rise. I love the idea because there is no better way to learn and grow than to share knowledge.
She asked me to speak along with Cynthia Sassi, founder of FabulousArizona.com
I sat down to think about my talk. I wanted people to be inspired to go after their dreams but also think in practical terms — how do I get there? What is the roadmap?
It is different for all of us, to be sure. But I put together what I feel are the 5 keys that helped me succeed above and beyond everything else.
(1) Preparation. Will you be ready when opportunity comes your way? I am often amazed at how ill prepared people are for big moments. For me, being over prepared has not only saved me, but has propelled me to where I am today. For interviews, I study and read and prepare to the point where guests often comment that they aren’t used to being asked questions that go so far beyond the surface. For business meetings, I want to know absolutely everything about who I am meeting with, why, and what the goals are moving forward. It is crucial to success that we not just show up, but that we are ready to win.
(2) Work. I have never been afraid of hard work. In fact, I thrive on it. At the business event I told a story about how, as an intern at the local television station in Phoenix, Arizona, I woke up at 2AM to work on the morning show. After that I went to school all day at ASU, followed by the college newscast, onto work at my retail job and then late night homework. Next day repeat. Exhausting? Maybe. Exhilarating? Yes. I knew I was working toward goals and that was exciting. Even though I am now fortunate to be accomplished in my field, I still work with the same intensity. I have just found ways — as a mom with a young family — to work smarter and always with specific purpose.
(3) Network. It is not just about how many people you know, but how well you know them. I literally have thousands of connections on social media. More than 30k on Twitter, somewhere around 10k on Facebook, etc, etc. I don’t say this to brag. I say this because I have built not just a network, but actual connections with people. I have made it my business on Twitter to look at the profiles of the people who are following me (not every single person, but many of them). Same thing here on LinkedIn. Now as the CEO of Inspired Media 360, I have so much more than a large email list for content marketing. I have actual real-life connections to thousands of people. This is invaluable to me. Not just as a journalist, but as a business person.
(4) Inspiration. This is the driving force behind everything I do. Every single thing. I want to be inspired and inspire others. Over the years, as a news reporter and anchor, I have found tremendous inspiration in the stories I have covered. Hundreds and hundreds of stories that reveal the deep strength of the human spirit. In times of tragedy that make you wonder how (HOW!) and why, the depth of love and community emerges that somehow helps us heal. I named my company Inspired Media 360 (www.inspiredmedia360.com) because every single project — in the journalism division and in the storytelling and branding division — has to have a purpose. If we are not inspired about what we are doing, the work will suffer. And frankly, so will I.
(5) Mental Toughness. This is a concept I have been learning more about. Thanks in large part to a great guy I interviewed a few months back, Matt Phillips, who speaks and coaches athletes and business leaders on this subject. What is mental toughness? As defined by Matt it is confidence, focus, control (keeping emotions in check) and perseverance. I realize that being mentally tough is one of my great strengths and has allowed me to handle very stressful situations over the years — working on deadline, covering chaos and tragedy, dealing with high-profile people, politicians, elections — with a certain sense of calm. Now in the business world, mental toughness allows me to have a laser focus on what I need to accomplish every day so that I am able to work smart and with purpose.
Giving this talk to business leaders and entrepreneurs on the rise was a positive thing for me personally because it forced me to sit and outline the 5 things that have really, truly helped me over the years. I like to see success — for myself, and for all those around me. We do better when we lift each other up.
Think about the action (not words) that will move you forward.
** Photo credit for this post goes to Carlos Solis **